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February 7 Board of Commissioners Meeting Report

February 13, 2023 Rachael McDonald, EWEB Communications

video screenshot from EWEB board meeting on Feb. 7

Collaborating with the City of Eugene, a Climate Guidebook, and priorities for upriver EWEB customers were the main topics at the Feb. 7 Board of Commissioners  meeting. The five-member Board serves without pay and is elected by EWEB customers. Their job is to establish policies and values and set EWEB’s long-term direction. Board meetings are open to the public and include opportunities for public comment.

Partnering with the City of Eugene

During their meeting, Commissioners discussed how EWEB and the City of Eugene have a lot of common goals around climate and there are opportunities to work together. This is not a new idea. EWEB has worked with the city for decades on energy efficiency projects.

A recent example is in 2021, when EWEB helped Echo Hollow Pool install an electric heat pump – powered with 90% carbon-free electricity – to heat the municipal pool.

EWEB and Eugene’s Forth electric car share partnership is another beneficial program for Eugene residents. Because emissions from transportation fuels make up 53% of Eugene’s local emissions, EWEB and the City are committed to increasing the use of electric vehicles in our community.

EWEB has several residential energy efficiency rebate programs which could have potential for future partnerships with city programs for rentals, similar to the Home Energy Score program that EWEB, the City and University of Oregon have partnered on for several years.

General Manager Frank Lawson said he’ll present the 2022 end-of-year report with results on our residential energy efficiency programs at next month’s board meeting. And, as part of the Integrated Resource Plan, staff will be evaluating how accelerated rates of electrification affect our electricity supply needs.

“We are going to test what that does,” Lawson said. “That type of electrification, we have to dial in what that consumption is going to be.”

EWEB board President Sonya Carlson and Vice President John Barofsky routinely meet with the city in their liaison roles.

EWEB’s Climate Guidebook will include an update on EWEB’s contribution to Eugene’s Climate Action Plan.

Climate Guidebook Principles

EWEB staff are working on a Climate Guidebook which is meant to serve as a resource for staff and the public.

At the meeting, EWEB Policy and Government Program Manager Jason Heuser and Climate Policy Analyst Kelly Hoell presented draft principles for the EWEB Climate Guidebook. The principles are related to carbon policy, distributed generation, and green hydrogen.

Hoell explained that the Board sets EWEB’s values and the principles should be further guidance for particular subject areas and policy.

“This is an articulation of why EWEB is involved in the topic,” Hoell said. “They’re not all policy but they’re all related to climate change, which is why they’re being included in the guidebook. It’s really setting out a list that says this is why EWEB cares about this.”

Heuser works with state legislators to advocate for EWEB’s climate and resiliency priorities. He said the Climate Guidebook principles are “ultimately a basis for how we make decisions. Consistency is an important part of our advocacy.”

McKenzie Valley Meeting Planning

Commissioners will hold a Board meeting upriver on May 16.  EWEB staff are planning the meeting and seeking guidance from the Board on topics and format.

Lawson said he’ll reach out to some upriver residents and partners to get feedback on topics that would be good to put on the agenda.

Rounding up the meeting, Lawson shared that, in April, the Board will get more information on pricing and costs associated with decommissioning Leaburg. On Feb. 21, EWEB is holding a town hall on our Integrated Resource Plan. Lawson and several commissioners will be presenting at Neighborhood Association meetings in the coming months.

The next EWEB Board of Commissioners meeting is on March 7.